καθ' εἷς (Romans 12:5)

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Danny King
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καθ' εἷς (Romans 12:5)

Post by Danny King » September 7th, 2015, 1:04 pm

Romans 12:5 reads:
οὕτως οἱ πολλοὶ ἓν σῶμά ἐσμεν ἐν Χριστῷ, τὸ δὲ καθ' εἷς ἀλλήλων μέλη.

I understand this to mean: "Thus, the many are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. I take καθ' εἷς to mean "individually" which makes intuitive sense to me ("according to one" requires just a little leap to mean "individually"). The problem is that εἷς is nominative and my understanding would require the accusative καθ' ἕνα. How can the object of a preposition remain in the nominative? The only way out of this is that the κατά goes with μέλη instead. But if this were the case, I wouldn't know how to put together the second clause.

I hope all you Greek experts will critique my reasoning and not just show me how to resolve the second clause. I suspect I've gone wrong in more than one way. Thanks. :)
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: καθ' εἷς (Romans 12:5)

Post by Stephen Hughes » September 7th, 2015, 2:55 pm

Before the experts have a chance to speak, let me say that in Modern Greek καθένας (= Koine καθεῖς), (fem. καθεμιά / καθεμία, neut. καθένα) is written together. The meaning is "every person, animal or thing separately (severally)".

It is a development of the distributive use of κατά.

cf.
Mark 14:19 wrote:Οἱ δὲ ἤρξαντο λυπεῖσθαι, καὶ λέγειν αὐτῷ εἷς καθ’ εἷς, Μήτι ἐγώ; Καὶ ἄλλος, Μήτι ἐγώ;
John 8:9 wrote:Οἱ δέ, ἀκούσαντες, καὶ ὑπὸ τῆς συνειδήσεως ἐλεγχόμενοι, ἐξήρχοντο εἷς καθ’ εἷς, ἀρξάμενοι ἀπὸ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων ἕως τῶν ἐσχάτων· καὶ κατελείφθη μόνος ὁ Ἰησοῦς, καὶ ἡ γυνὴ ἐν μέσῳ οὖσα.
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Wes Wood
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Re: καθ' εἷς (Romans 12:5)

Post by Wes Wood » September 8th, 2015, 12:31 am

First, let me say that I am not one of the experts who can be found on the forum, so take my thoughts with a spoonful of salt. I think you can approach this question two different ways. The first is to recognize that in later Greek usage the first four cardinal numerals (εἷς, δύο, τρεῖς, καὶ τέτταρες ) were "either declinable or indeclinable...according to no very well-defined principle" (Robertson 281). Following this reasoning, the phrase τὸ δὲ καθ᾿ εἷς is accusative but in this instance εἷς isn't declined.

The second is, as Stephen noted, that κατά is used in later Greek as an adverb that does not follow the "prepositional idiom" (Robertson 606). I associate the "distributive use of κατά" with some type of repetition. Examples of this usage include:

Luke 8:1 "Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ καθεξῆς καὶ αὐτὸς διώδευεν κατὰ πόλιν καὶ κώμην κηρύσσων καὶ εὐαγγελιζόμενος τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ οἱ δώδεκα σὺν αὐτῷ,"

Matthew 27:15 "Κατὰ δὲ ἑορτὴν εἰώθει ὁ ἡγεμὼν ἀπολύειν ἕνα τῷ ὄχλῳ δέσμιον ὃν ἤθελον."

Titus 1:5 "Τούτου χάριν ἀπέλιπόν σε ἐν Κρήτῃ, ἵνα τὰ λείποντα ἐπιδιορθώσῃ καὶ καταστήσῃς κατὰ πόλιν πρεσβυτέρους, ὡς ἐγώ σοι διεταξάμην,"

I hope this helps, but if I am incorrect I suspect others will only be that much more likely to speak up!
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: καθ' εἷς (Romans 12:5)

Post by Stephen Hughes » September 8th, 2015, 12:40 am

Please consider this point too: ἐσμεν is a finite verb. Finite verbs in Greek explicate person and number. You translation suggests that in the first clause you have not grasped that. ἐσ- is like English "is" and -μεν specifies the person and number of the actor in the sentence (in the nominative case) to which the meaning of ἐσ- is to be applied.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Danny King
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Re: καθ' εἷς (Romans 12:5)

Post by Danny King » September 8th, 2015, 11:20 am

Wes, all I can say is WOW! :o That's really awesome information. Thank you very much. You have wrapped up the problem that has been troubling me for a couple weeks.

I spend quite a lot of time reading commentaries and the commentators are always referring to Robertson and BDAG, both of which I do not own and this is really making me feel seriously handicapped. But these books are really expensive and Robertson is so old, it feels like an ancient manuscript itself. :lol:

Is Robertson really 1500 pages thick? I read a review which said that Robertson is a waste of time for pastors and Bible students and is only useful for Greek teachers. What do you think? Is the content outdated?

Thanks again, Wes, much obliged.
Last edited by Danny King on September 8th, 2015, 11:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Danny King
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Re: καθ' εἷς (Romans 12:5)

Post by Danny King » September 8th, 2015, 11:43 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:Please consider this point too: ἐσμεν is a finite verb. Finite verbs in Greek explicate person and number. You translation suggests that in the first clause you have not grasped that. ἐσ- is like English "is" and -μεν specifies the person and number of the actor in the sentence (in the nominative case) to which the meaning of ἐσ- is to be applied.
Thank you, Stephen, for pointing out my mistake. I'm always missing out on words when translating. I understand the number-person suffixes and have memorized the εἰμί paradigms for present, imperfect and future indicatives, present subjunctive and present imperative. But I get totally lost when other forms appear.

More intriguing, though, is the distinction that arises when accenting εστιν. Murray J. Harris in his EGGNT volume on Colossians and Philemon writes on page 42:
Αυτος εστιν may be accented in two ways: as ἀυτὸς ἔστιν, "he himself exists" or ἀυτὸς ἐστιν, "he himself is".

I have searched through all my Greek books (pathetically few in number, I should add) and can find nothing on this. But of course, needless to say, this is explained in Robertson pages 233-234. :cry: This is what makes me feel handicapped.
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Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: καθ' εἷς (Romans 12:5)

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » September 8th, 2015, 1:07 pm

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Danny King
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Re: καθ' εἷς (Romans 12:5)

Post by Danny King » September 8th, 2015, 2:45 pm

Never imagined I could pore over it for free! Thank you, Eeli.
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Wes Wood
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Re: καθ' εἷς (Romans 12:5)

Post by Wes Wood » September 8th, 2015, 5:41 pm

Robertson isn't quite 1500 pages, but it does go well into 1400. This count includes verse references, indexes, and other things. To be honest, I am horrified at the thought that it is a waster of time for pastors and Bible students to consult his grammar. For me the primary value of Robertson's value is that it references many, if not most, of the specific problems that you will encounter in the New Testament text and gives you references for other resources to consult for additional reading. The content may be somewhat outdated, but a good question to ask is what would replace it? It is one of the only complete Biblical Greek grammars.

That said, I prefer Smyth's grammar above all others, but it 'only' covers Classical Greek. It is also available online for free if you look for it. (I would provide the reference myself, but I don't know the best version to use. I know that you can access a copy on Perseus, but I can't imagine that would be your best option.) My next choice would be BDF, but many won't find it very helpful because of it assumes familiarity with Classical Greek.

Again, I am not the best person to ask about such things, but these are my thoughts.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: καθ' εἷς (Romans 12:5)

Post by Stephen Hughes » September 9th, 2015, 12:17 am

Danny King wrote:I'm always missing out on words when translating. I understand the number-person suffixes and have memorized the εἰμί paradigms for present, imperfect and future indicatives, present subjunctive and present imperative. But I get totally lost when other forms appear.
To help you not miss out words, try this...

Beyond recognising the forms of individual verbs, ask yourself contextual questions such as:
Which other words are second (or third or first) person (even though they are not marked as such in the accidence of the language). In your example here, οἱ πολλοὶ ἓν σῶμά ἐσμεν ἐν χριστῷ, what person is οἱ πολλοὶ "the proletariat", "the masses"? By form it is nominative and plural, but it doesn't make clear whether it is referring to the writer and those with him, the writer and his readers, the readers, or the common people outside the Church. Within the phrase we know that οἱ πολλοὶ is the subject of an upcoming plural verb. ἐσμεν is a plural verb. It is also second person. You ought / should / are free to apply that information from the verb to the nominal phrase that it goes with.

Can I assume correctly that you work through a text in the following way?
  1. writing down the meanings of / over individual words, and then
  2. try to piece together a viable meaning from those disjointed (English) elements
You can apply the information about person to the nominal units that need it as an intermediate step. The disjointedness of the English words on your page will be a bit less if you do that.

If you wanted to go deeper than that, then look for two things in the order in which things are presented. While on paper our eyes dance about wherever to find meaning, in fact, we need to process left-to-right. Now, the first thing introduced which has you hanging for meaning, and proximity to the verb. As we just noticed, there is a big question mark over οἱ πολλοὶ as to its person, and getting to the point in the phrase where that is made clear builds an anticipation, so in effect emphasises the person by holding out on us before giving the information. Here that means like, we are left asking or wondering Who, Who Who? and then we get "We" as the answer. The copula and complement ἓν σῶμά ἐσ- are right next to each other. That proximity leaves us feeling that the verb is closely associated with the complement. The complement ἓν σῶμά then, is more important than the verb (copula) ἐσ- in this case. In this type of 1-3-2 (οἱ πολλοὶ) (ἓν σῶμά ἐσ-)(-μεν), (to number according to how it comes out in English translation), the missing part of the 1 (found in the 3) has its emphasis by anticipation and the complement / object by being the part of the sentence that the other two "balance" on. In English that would be "WE the masses are just one body". In effect, you ignored what was meant to be anticipated.

Applying that to the second phrase too, there is a dummy 1 (the disassociated) article ὁ / τὸ (anticipating nothing) to allow for the καθ’ εἷς ἀλλήλων to get pivotal ("balancing" emphasis) the most straightforwardly expressed element, and the final part μέλη which was not anticipated is simply a piece of information supplied as any other. The parallel (1-3-2) structure is retained, but with only one type of emphasis
Danny King wrote:This is what makes me feel handicapped.
I don't think the feelings that there is not enough known or able to be known ever goes away. There is always the feeling that we need to know more - in fact, that we needed to already have known it (before it was needed).
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

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